Amnesty says hundreds detained in Kashmir without charge or trial

March 21, 2011

Amnesty International has accused the government of detaining hundreds of people each year in Kashmir without charge or trial under a “draconian” Indian law.

Amnesty says hundreds detained in Kashmir without charge or trialThe rights group said India’s Public Safety Act (PSA)  had been used to detain up to 20,000 people without trial over the past two decades. Public Safety Act allows for detention without trial for up to two years.

Tens of thousands have died in the disputed region, which India and Pakistan claim in full but rule in parts, since a revolt against New Delhi’s broke out in 1989.

“The Jammu and Kashmir authorities are using PSA detentions as a revolving door to keep people they can’t or won’t convict through proper legal channels locked up and out of the way,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director.

Here’s the Amnesty International report released in Srinagar on Monday.

Earlier in January, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, also called for reforms including the repeal of laws giving security forces wide powers of arrest across Kashmir.

Rebel violence is on decline. But there has been a resurgence of street protests across the strife-torn region. At least 110 people were killed last year and dozens were wounded, mostly by police bullets, during the protests, the biggest in 21 years.

“Despite this apparent shift in the nature of the unrest, Jammu and Kashmir authorities continue to rely on the PSA rather than attempting to charge and try those suspected of committing criminal acts,” said  Sam Zarifi.

Amnesty says the PSA undermines the rule of law and reinforces deeply held perceptions “that police and security forces are above the law.”

Amnesty International research shows the implementation of the PSA is often arbitrary and  abusive, with many of those being held having committed no recognisably criminal acts. The Supreme Court has described administrative detention, including the PSA, as ‘lawless law’. The rights group has called on New Delhi to revoke the law and introduce safeguards ensuring those detained are charged promptly, have access to relatives, legal council and medical examinations and are held in recognised detention facilities pending trial.

Will New Delhi revoke the law in Kashmir where separatist violence has fallen to its lowest level since an anti-India insurgency broke out over two decades ago?

12 comments

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Will New Delhi revoke the law in Kashmir where separatist violence has fallen to its lowest level since an anti-India insurgency broke out over two decades ago?
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This is a good question. Hope draconian laws are not abused and peace can be restored.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive

It’s incomprehensible that there is zero international attention for kashmir. There was for Darfur (rightly so), there was for rwanda (rightfully so), there was for kuwait and bosnia, egypt, libya but not kashmir and bahrain. why?

Posted by shoaibo | Report as abusive

I wonder why why the Security Council didn’t similarly intervene in other conflict situations between a state and armed groups such as the Palestinians, Chechnya, the Lord’s Resistance Army, Kashmir and Algeria.

Posted by haleem11 | Report as abusive

Failure by the Indian state to hold plebiscite has become a source of mounting discontent among Kashmiris. As long as Kashmir dispute is not addressed the problems will grow and human rights violations as well.

Posted by haleem11 | Report as abusive

The criticism about not holding plebiscite is legitimate. From the beginning this has been hampered by Pakistan Army to vacate the territory it illegally occupied in 1948.

Besides Pakistan did not like the 3rd option, since they were/ are only interested in land grab. Another factor pulling the rug under the plebiscite argument is alteration of demographics in the last 60 years. A section of the Kashmiris have been ethnic cleansed and kicked out of the valley, from their ancestral home land.

Further complication is alteration of sectarian demographics in Occupied Kashmir, where Pakistan Army has deliberately settled Sunni muslims in Shia dominated areas.

Watch this video:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xeyzvr_ sectarian-strife-in-gilgit-baltista_news

“Gilgit-Baltistan, September 27: Roads wear a deserted look, shopping and business centres remain shut and attendance in government offices and schools stays thin. This is the situation in Gilgit Baltistan, which is facing sectarian strife. The root cause is the influx of Sunnis from Pakistan – essentially Pashtuns. Since the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto regime in the mid 1970s, Islamabad has been continuously encouraging sectarian polarization in Gilgit-Baltistan. The situation worsened dramatically under General Zia-ul-Haq, when the military dictator encouraged cadres of the radical Sunni Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) to extend its activities to the Gilgit-Baltistan region. ISI-backed Sunni extremist organizations are now engaged in activities like bomb blasts and killings that provoke sectarian clashes.”

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive

I dont think plebiscite is possible unless the pakistan sponsored terrorism is brought to an end.Plebiscite can only be done on restoration of peace.Also its a complex issue from the point of view of minorities of Kashmir.There are around 60000 Hindus,Sikhs , Christians, Buddhists which constitutes the minority.A bulk of the Minority community is Kashmiri Pandits who have been forced to migrate from Kashmir because of their ethnic cleansing bu Muslim fundamentalists.All these people need to be restored back to Kashmir before any plebiscite is sought.The talk of plebiscite is easy to say on paper but it involves far greater human consequences than what we think of.

Posted by koulvivek | Report as abusive

“It’s incomprehensible that there is zero international attention for kashmir. There was for Darfur (rightly so), there was for rwanda (rightfully so), there was for kuwait and bosnia, egypt, libya but not kashmir and bahrain. why?”

Uh. Because the situation in India and Bahrain is not nearly the same? Just guessing.

“Failure by the Indian state to hold plebiscite has become a source of mounting discontent among Kashmiris.”

You mean “mounting discontent among Pakistani Punjabis”.

“As long as Kashmir dispute is not addressed the problems will grow and human rights violations as well.”

Classic case of Pakistani escapism.

Posted by trickey | Report as abusive

PSA and AFSPA are draconian laws which should have no place in a democracy. And I agree with Netizan that it’s too late for plebiscite as a lot has changed over the last 6o years. What did not change is the reality that Pakistan OCCUPIED the Kashmir territory by force.

For all his runts against Indian administration, Mr. Mushtaq will never agree to this obvious fact though. Nor will he be able to appreciate that among all the conflict zones in the world, Indian administered part of Kashmir is perhaps the only place where the government allows world press and other watchdogs. So if a peaceful stone pelter dies of a stray bullet, that gets covered all over the world, while whatever ISI does in Pakistan’s occupied territories or China in Tibet or any other country in its conflict zones, never gets out. The result is that Muslim world thinks Indian government is the oppressive one and all is well everywhere else.

Mr Mushtaq will also want to ignore the fact that in the recent recruitment drive launched by Indian Army in Kashmir, the youth came in hoards to get themselves enrolled. It tells me that the people there prefer economic opportunities over propaganda. But he might want to look at it as claim for “Blood Money”

Posted by Windturner | Report as abusive

As long as Congress party will remain in power in New Delhi, the Kashmir situation will NOT improve. Period.

By the way, Mr Mushtaq,
well done!! but did you ever think that could you do such an article in tibet in china? or in PoK? or may be could amnesty do such a survey in Tibet or PoK? Have you done anything other than copy pasting amnesty report in this article OR is Reuters hell bent on degrading to lowest levels of reporting.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

Do Indians know they are being deceptive when they speak on Kashmir? Or is it a sort of self-deception.

If Pakistan had not taken Kashmir, every single princely state would have conveniently gone to India. Did Indian military not invade Hyderabad? Pakistan did not interfere because it was majority Hindu.

How about both armies vacate kashmir? How about a ‘democractic’ plebiscite? why would indians decline? after all, kashmiris love India.

Also, Kashmir pandits were expelled from Kashmir because of their continued support of Indian army in suppressing the kashmiri freedom struggle in the most brutal manner.

How can you possibly compare Azad Kashmir to IOK ?? It is simply laughable. btw, Amnesty international does report on azad kashmir. but according to indians, it has some sort of vendetta against indians.

You are right about kashmir not being the same as libya, egypt. Qaddafi is not even one-hundreth as brutal as India’s occupation force.

100,000+ dead
10,000+ raped

Posted by shoaibo | Report as abusive

after a long time there is good news ….Kashmir to ‘study and learn’ from Amnesty report.

The Jammu and Kashmir government will study a report by the international watchdog Amnesty International on alleged human rights abuse in the state and would not relegate it to the “dustbin”, chief minister Omar Abdullah said on Wednesday. “The report would not be ignored nor it would be thrown
http://www.hindustantimes.com/Kashmir-to -study-and-learn-from-Amnesty-report/Art icle1-676787.aspx

Posted by shugufta | Report as abusive

“failure by the Indian state to hold plebiscite has become a source of mounting discontent among Kashmiris”.
If Indians are confident why don’t they hold plebiscite and win Kashmir which is still a souring dispute in south Asia.

Posted by shugufta | Report as abusive